Spring

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Cliff
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Spring

Post by Cliff » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:22 pm

Spring

Fumble out of bed, wed the dark
inside with grey of early dawn; wrap
reality around me, a cloak to keep me cold,
and dodder down the trail
in search of posture - to tell her
that I’m leaving.

Sun stumbles over hills and slides
across the lowlands; shadows divide,
skitter and hide behind evergreens
swaying in unison. Shivering dew-soaked needles
shed silver mist to mingle with the morning breeze
rushing gold and crimson leaves in fitful waves
across riparian land.

The path descends, bending east
along the watercourse. Brushwood scrunches,
berries squelch beneath my shoes, ooze
and splash, tinting soft earth purple-blue.
I receive the sun, reaching arms and open palms
in homage, and imbibe
her melting
warmth.

This recurrent rhapsody in melancholy keys,
augury of endings, still -
redolent of unborn days; resonates
and curls my sight inside to find the faith
to recreate and cultivate a sense
of spring
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

Antcliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Antcliff » Thu Oct 17, 2013 1:43 pm

Hi Cliff
I'm fond of Spring poems.

I liked "dodder down the trail".

IMHO you should nix that final stanza. "Melting warmth" seems a better place to end. And the final stanza seems to me to be trying a bit too hard. :D

W
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

David Smedley
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Re: Spring

Post by David Smedley » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:25 pm

Cliff wrote:
Fumble out of bed, wed the dark
inside with grey of early dawn; wrap
reality around me, a cloak to keep me cold,
and dodder down the trail
in search of posture - to tell her
that I’m leaving
hello Cliff, first thoughts on reading: The whole of this verse is abstract, no concrete imagery. how does one wrap reality around them? or wed the dark? search of posture? I don't get it.
Sun stumbles over hills and slides
across the lowlands; shadows divide,
skitter and hide behind evergreens
swaying in unison. Shivering dew-soaked needles
shed silver mist to mingle with the morning breeze
rushing gold and crimson leaves in fitful waves
across riparian land
The sun stumbling does not ring true for me, smooth is a descriptor that describes the sun's movement for me.
A lot of cliches in this verse: swaying evergreens, silver mist, morning breeze, gold and crimson leaves, fitful waves.
I won't look "riparian" up, why send most people for a dictionary?
The path descends, bending east
along the watercourse. Brushwood scrunches,
berries squelch beneath my shoes, ooze
and splash, tinting soft earth purple-blue.
I receive the sun, reaching arms and open palms
in homage, and imbibe
her melting
warmth
"Bending east" is superfluous, and the reader would not relate to it in the way the writer may want them to, having no reference to the path being "doddered upon".
There is more tell than show here, let the reader fill in the noises: I.E.
The path descends along the watercourse
brushwood and berries beneath my shoes.
.
The rest up to "I recieve" could also go.
Imbibe her melting warmth, this comes across as trying to be poetic for the sake of it. imbibe? melting?.
This recurrent rhapsody in melancholy keys,
augury of endings, still -
redolent of unborn days; resonates
and curls my sight inside to find the faith
to recreate and cultivate a sense
of spring
This verse is also full of abstractions. redolent of unborn days? what are they!! resonates and curls my sight? I'm lost as to how to translate this to something I can comprehend.

seeya Cliff....D

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:01 pm

Seth, thank you for checking up on this one. Great advice to loose the last stanza - perfectly accurate too. Wish I'd have seen that :roll: Very much appreciated, Seth!

David! Thanks for your detailed review, man! Much appreciate your thoughts. Always an eye opener how others read/relate to this ever subjective and challenging art form, eh?

And just for the sake of ... well I don't know for the sake of what exactly but anyway: Sun (light) does indeed "stumble" over a rugged landscape as the sun itself rises and the shadows recede across that landscape. If you focus on the line where the sun (light) meets the shadow - it's slow but you can actually see it! I've observed this with the naked eye and, more distinctly so, through time-lapse photography. It's quite an arresting and delightful sight really :D

And for discussion sake, do you think contemporary poetry should be actually limited to a certain level of vocabulary? And if so, how does one decide at what level that limit should be? I'm always curious about this as I hear it come up from time to time. I mean, when I myself read (a poem) and see a word that I don't know, I get excited at the thought of learning that new word - another tiny addition to the tools of expression, no?

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by Tim Love » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:55 am

And for discussion sake, do you think contemporary poetry should be actually limited to a certain level of vocabulary? ... when I myself read (a poem) and see a word that I don't know, I get excited at the thought of learning that new word - another tiny addition to the tools of expression, no?
This seems to miss the points that people were making. In "death has no dominion", "death" is an abstraction, but that's the point; it affects everyone - the death is each of our deaths. In "An animal sat somewhere", "animal" and "somewhere" don't powerfully represent all animals and places. They're just vague place-holders. "A giraffe sat on my iPoD" is more vivid, replacing generalities with particulars. Of course, generalities have their place in poetry. The problem is that you've chosen to use words that are so crudded with poetic over-use that it's difficult to rescue the power they once had. They say more about the narrator's expressive impoverishment than his/her state of mind. The words are useful in parodies, or with naive readers, or one at a time, but "rhapsody ... melancholy ... augury ... redolent ... resonates" uses no new words that readers could learn - quite the opposite. I think you need more giraffes.

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 1:12 pm

No points missed, Tim. Quite the opposite actually, I took to heart the point that people (David) were making - without argument. I do indeed see that the images may be abstract etc.

The questions posed in the last paragraph were indeed, as stated, for curiosity sake. Based on comments/questions such as "why send people to a dictionary" and "I don't get it" etc. For example, I don't really see any difficulty in understanding that one would be in search of "posture" to tackle a life event of some magnitude.

And before there is misunderstanding, please note that I am in no way saying that the poem is any good! I was merely asking the question about vocabulary ...

Thanks,

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by David2 » Fri Oct 18, 2013 2:21 pm

Restricting myself just to David S's point about the dictionary (and I like riparian), I'm currently reading selected / collected poems by Louis MacNeice and Les Murray - two very different poets! - and I'm having regular recourse to a dictionary for both of them. Hard words not essential, but never entirely unwelcome.

(Hello Cliff. Don't think we've interacted before.)

David

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:43 pm

Hello David (2)! Actually really enjoyed your "On the misprizing of sons" piece, and added a little comment too - my first exposure to your work.

Thanks for checking in here, David, and I'm happy for the distinction between my not-so-good-poem and the question posed. "Hard words not essential, but never entirely unwelcome" is a sentiment I can certainly agree with. I like words (obviously) but particular words bring to mind certain connotations and feelings that colloquial synonyms sometimes aren't able to - again, obviously! However, I must realize perhaps that those connotations and feelings only come to my mind :shock: I like dictionaries and have no issues with having to refer to them in order to obtain a better understanding of what a writer is attempting to communicate.

I'm trying to understand why or if, when not communicating solely to be understood (technical documents etc.), one should impose arbitrary limits on vocabulary. The common consensus seems to be that one should write poetry in conversational language. In many ways I agree because I believe poetry elevates a common language, but I also feel that language can sometimes elevate poetry - If that makes any sense at all ...? And all this is NOT to imply that I know anything at all about language or that what I write is of any merit - just the curiosities of one who wishes to learn.

Oh and I'll have a peak at the two authors you mention as I'm not familiar with any of their work.

Thanks,

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

David Smedley
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Re: Spring

Post by David Smedley » Fri Oct 18, 2013 3:46 pm

And for discussion sake, do you think contemporary poetry should be actually limited to a certain level of vocabulary? And if so, how does one decide at what level that limit should be? I'm always curious about this as I hear it come up from time to time. I mean, when I myself read (a poem) and see a word that I don't know, I get excited at the thought of learning that new word - another tiny addition to the tools of expression, no?

~ Cliff
Hello Cliff, I am of the camp that comes down on the side of "ease of reading," if a poem uses words that need to be "looked up" then that means the reader is "dropped" out of the poem to do so. A poem for me needs to be as seamless as possible when read; as to what level "the limit should be" that comes naturally when practising to be as clear as possible as to what the writer is trying to convey to the reader. (And therefore engage their senses).
another tiny addition to the tools of expression, no?
what expression? if readers do not know the meaning of a word then there is no expression, only the loss of the reader at that point.

seeya........D

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:33 pm

Hello again Mr. Smedley,
I am of the camp that comes down on the side of "ease of reading," if a poem uses words that need to be "looked up" then that means the reader is "dropped" out of the poem to do so. A poem for me needs to be as seamless as possible when read
So you're saying that one must somehow gauge a potential readers level of vocabulary and adjust accordingly?
the limit should be" that comes naturally when practising to be as clear as possible as to what the writer is trying to convey to the reader
So how does one discover the benchmark of what comes naturally and is "clear" to any given reader? Some people may not understand the meaning of the word "ail" - though it's a simple and clear three letter word - does that mean that one should refrain from using it?
what expression? if readers do not know the meaning of a word then there is no expression, only the loss of the reader at that point.
Same question: How to decide which words readers don't know? Must one write at the lowest potential level in an effort to be clear to everyone?


~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by Antcliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 4:57 pm

Hi Cliff

I don't think a writer should be afraid to send a reader to a dictionary. Not perhaps every other word because then there will not be enough to initially engage. Whilst David S is right in that needing to look up a word can sometimes (but not always) knock a reader out of the poem, they can always come back to it when informed. If the poem is up to much it will merit a few readings anyway. I also liked "riparian" by the way. I remember as a teenager loving a Yeats poem which contained a word I needed to look up.

Best,
Seth
We fray into the future, rarely wrought
Save in the tapestries of afterthought.
Richard Wilbur

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:24 pm

Hi Seth

"Not perhaps every other word because then there will not be enough to initially engage" - absolutely agree!
If the poem is up to much it will merit a few readings anyway
Agree completely, and also believe the reverse to be true - a few readings would/could lend merit to many poems. In my my mind, and true for many, poems often need to be digested in order to be appreciated. I don't think I have ever read a poem just once, no matter how simple it seemed to be to begin with.

Appreciate your comments, Seth!

~ cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by KevJ » Fri Oct 18, 2013 7:10 pm

I had to look up "riparian" (showing my ignorance again :oops: ) But having come back to the poem with a new word in the bank I feel my understanding of that stanza is enhanced. This poem is well worth a second read for my money. :wink:
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Re: Spring

Post by David Smedley » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:05 pm

Cliff wrote:
Must one write at the lowest potential level in an effort to be clear to everyone?
An effort to be clear to the majority of readers does not equate to writing at a "low level" it requires writing at the "highest level".

seeya....D

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:30 pm

David Smedley wrote:
Cliff wrote:
Must one write at the lowest potential level in an effort to be clear to everyone?
An effort to be clear to the majority of readers does not equate to writing at a "low level" it requires writing at the "highest level".

seeya....D
... using, of course, only the words limited to the potential readers existing vocabulary?

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 8:37 pm

KevJ wrote:I had to look up "riparian" (showing my ignorance again :oops: ) But having come back to the poem with a new word in the bank I feel my understanding of that stanza is enhanced. This poem is well worth a second read for my money. :wink:
Thanks for the re-read Kev :D I appreciate that!

And there is NO ignorance in not knowing a word. We all come from different backgrounds and what may be a common word to you may be completely new to me, with altogether different connotations too - such is the challenge, and frankly the beauty, of the english language

Best,

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by ray miller » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:04 pm

I liked it mostly. I'd agree about losing the last verse.

and dodder down the trail
in search of posture - to tell her
that I’m leaving.

I'm confused about this. My first thought was that the leaving was for good, rather than just going out. I'm still not entirely sure but "posture" lends more importance, depth than is perhaps intended.

Shivering dew-soaked needles
shed silver mist to mingle with the morning breeze
rushing gold and crimson leaves in fitful waves
across riparian land.

One day perhaps, it might not be soon, Elphin will come along to tell you that this passage has too many modifiers. And he'll be right.
I'm out of faith and in my cups
I contemplate such bitter stuff.

Cliff
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Re: Spring

Post by Cliff » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:40 pm

ray miller wrote:I liked it mostly. I'd agree about losing the last verse.

and dodder down the trail
in search of posture - to tell her
that I’m leaving.

I'm confused about this. My first thought was that the leaving was for good, rather than just going out. I'm still not entirely sure but "posture" lends more importance, depth than is perhaps intended.

Shivering dew-soaked needles
shed silver mist to mingle with the morning breeze
rushing gold and crimson leaves in fitful waves
across riparian land.

One day perhaps, it might not be soon, Elphin will come along to tell you that this passage has too many modifiers. And he'll be right.
Ok Ray, that last line really had me laughing :D I won't listen to you if you said it - but I'll indeed await Elphin to say it! Creatively humorous!

And thanks for looking at this ...

Your first thought is correct about "leaving for good" and was hoping to communicate that with: Doddering down the trail searching for "posture" - "a particular way of dealing with or considering something; an approach or attitude:"

I could have used "resolve" I guess, but it wouldn't have meant quite the same as "finding a particular way/attitude" of telling her I'm leaving. That combined with with the "dark inside" which quite obviously and universally would be seen as depression or depressing mood etc. made me think would be effective. And of course the "melting warmth" indicating the turn in state of heart and mind - as in thoughts/hope of unborn days. Unborn days being the potential "spring" of every relationship or life for that matter!

Anyway, it's good advice to ditch the last verse (it adds nothing as I read it now) and I intend to do so - so maybe Elph will miss the boat on the modifiers haha

I appreciate your comments, Ray

Best regards,

~ Cliff
Somewhere in a burst of glory
Sound becomes a song - Paul Simon

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Re: Spring

Post by cynwulf » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:04 pm

A poem well worth reading, apart from the abstractions towards the end. I find the imagery and clarity of expression convey the atmosphere well, and the metaphors are well chosen. The last stanza doesn't add anything though for me. I have great sympathy with your responses on vocabulary, no poet should be afraid of using the wordhoard of his language. I am not a person with a literary education, but as a rude mechanical had no difficulty with your choice of words

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Re: Spring

Post by Suzanne » Sat Nov 02, 2013 4:42 pm

I needed to read this a few times to take all of the imagery in, this is not a bad thing. It is a visually rich poem, you could add some sense of smell? The mood is very moist and foggy and has a softness to it although there is a nice confidence in the N.

This is a very interesting poem, yep. I look forward to reading more from you.
How would you do winter? Curious.

Suzanne

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